Limerick’s metro mayor strongly critical of public ‘videoing’ recovery of body

Cllr Daniel Butler said he intends to write to the Department of Justice over the New Year’s Eve incident Picture: Michael Cowhey

Cllr Daniel Butler said he intends to write to the Department of Justice over the New Year’s Eve incident Picture: Michael Cowhey

THE METROPOLITAN Mayor of Limerick is to write to the Department of Justice about imposing rules on capturing tragic incidents on social media after he witnessed members of the public videoing a body being recovered from the river.

Cllr Daniel Butler expressed his shock at the incident, which he witnessed while he was with Limerick Suicide Watch on New Year’s Eve last. 

Mayor Butler made the comments following the controversy surrounding a fatal car collision on the M50, in which a member of the public shared graphic content of the incident on social media.

Following the incident in Limerick city, Cllr Butler said that people on social media “have become reporters”.

“Reporting or journalism is a profession that people take time to train. Journalists take time to check their sources, to check their information and to ensure that they report with sensitivity,” he said. 

He added: “In my own context, I was out with Limerick Suicide Watch on New Year’s Eve and, unfortunately, somebody entered the water, was taken from the water. And when we were on our way down, running down from our area where we were, there was people there, videoing and taking pictures of this person being taken across the water and being removed from the water.

“We were in such a rush, we didn’t say anything. But it took me aback to see that, because at the end of the day, that could be somebody’s brother, sister, mother or father, son or daughter. And to see that then splashed up then on social media, I think it shows a degree of lack of empathy, lack of sensitivity for the issue. I think people need to stop doing it. It’s not appropriate.”

He said that he intends to write to the Department of Justice to see what can be done about imposing rules on this type of social media use. 

“People are doing it, without realising the consequences of what they are doing. But it still has to stop. It makes me worried how we have become desensitised to these things. Are we less empathetic as a society to what’s happening?”

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